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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  June 17, 2015 2:30am-3:01am EDT

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"america tonight"s sheila macvicar with a world leader on climate change, and her cautious about the coming storm. >> it is cyclones beyond belief, it is cities, miami, other cities going under, under water. house of screams. the torture that took place inside a chicago police station. "america tonight"s lisa fletcher with a victim forced to confess, free. >> reporter: what does that say? >> i'm a free man.
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on paper, that i was innocent of this case. innocent. [ ♪♪ ] thanks for joining us. i'm joie chen. >> when we think of torture chambers, medieval dungens, abu ghraib, maybe, comes to line, not a police department in a big city where victims say decades of vicious abuse, outright torture took place. on chicago's south side the presinct was known as the house of screams, where lisa fletcher found one of the darkest chapters took place. survivors told you the tale. it uses racial abusive language that you would not normally here on tv, but it will help with the terror that took place. >> reporter: ronald kitchener words.
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>> we have ways of making so he police. >> he said i'll use a big old knif stick and beat the [ bleep ] out of it. so i'm sitting there, and as he's telling me, telling me you did this. we know you did this. >> reporter: this was a highly publicised quinn tuple murder that when police picked up kitchen, he told them it was for auto theft. after a few hours, kitchen says he realized the auto theft arrest was a means to an end. >> he tells me stand up niger. stand up to the wall, handcuff me behind my back, and he gets the stick and puts it between my legs.
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and he put it against the wall and lifts me off my feet. and he grinds. and he grinds. and he grinds. and he grinds. >> reporter: for more than 16 hours, a revolving door of officers beat and interrogated him until he had no fight left. >> okay, i'll do what you want me to do. confess. >> reporter: based on his confession, and the testimony of an imprisoned informant. kitchen was found guilty of all five murders and sentenced to death. it would not be until years later that kitchen realized he would be alone. >> the protectors of the law forced me into something i didn't do, and knowing that i didn't do it, was willing to see me. the men are out there robbing and killing.
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it makes you a murderer, a premeditated murderer. >> reporter: kitchen's case tragic as an isolated incident, and terrifying as a practice of some members of the police department. who, according to legal experts. tortured more than 100 men, mostly african-american from 1971 to 1992. >> the city tried to keep the reports being released. >> in 1989 working on a tip, john conroy discovered hauntingly similar reports from suspects claiming to be tortured by chicago police. give us a sense of the type of torture used by the officers. >> the most well-known was electric shock. there were three electrical device, one was handcranked, a cattle prod and the other a distinct medical device, the violet ray machine for sale on s&m websites.
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there was a prisoner, andrew wilson, burnt against a hot radiator. russian roulette. mok execution is one of the force forms of torture. >> conroy obtained anonymous letters from someone in chicago p.d. he broke the story wide open. >> conroy uncovered a widespread pattern of violence and racism within the department. man. >> a huge white man. cotton top of a desk, and literally kicked my areas out of a care. i had my hands behind my back, in a hoop in the wall. i found out he was john burge. >> reporter: john burge is a former commanding police department commander and a dark face in this history.
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burge was accused of using torture tactics that he learnt during his time in vietnam. by 1993, in a swirl of headlines a review board determined burge used torture and fired him. conroy says burge is not the only one to blame. >> so many systems failed here that blaming it on him is really a mistake. he didn't need the torture, he joined the police force anywhere to brutality. >> reporter: why were you so tenacious with this though? >> people were going to die. nobody was doing anything. there were a dozen men on death row there on the basis of suspect confessions. >> ronald kitchens was one of them, spending 21 years locked up. 13 of those an death row. in the wake
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of mounting torture allegations, governor george ryan made a decision to clear all 167 of the state's death row inmates, and modify their sentences to life in prison. in 2009, after spending half his exonerated. >> you were given a certificate of sentence. >> correct. >> can you show it to us? what does it say. >> i'm a free man. period. on papers that i was incident of this case. innocent. >> in a cruel twist, the woman who believed in that innocence all along would never get to celebrate ronald's freedom. >> my mother was and is - that's my soldiers. no one else listened or believed.
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when i come home, she has dementia. she has dementia. so now, i'm free. now she's locked up. she didn't recognise me. she was staring at me. i'm going "what's going on, ma." she said "hey, baby, do you know why i'm here?" home. >> many people missed the ball in dealing with the tortures. >> reporter: mark clements spent nearly three decades in prison for a crime he said he didn't commit, but confessed to because he said he was tortured. >> he began to hit me on my arms, calling me niger boy, my genitals was grabbed and squeezed. squeezed so hard...
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..squeezed so hard that i literally thought that my skip was going to bust. so i told them, because he told me "you going to cooperate, boy, you going to cooperate", and i told him yes. he let go. >> reporter: mark was released with 28 years time served, and is now a leader in the movement to hold the city accountable. he worries that it's not over. victims say officers who participated in the torture are still on the force. >> reporter: so his legacy of conditions. >> yes, it's bigger than john burge, it's way bigger than john burge. >> this is one of the police stations that alleged victims like mark call a torture chamber, no officer has been convicted of that crime, legal experts estimate that the city
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of chicago paid out at least $64 million in judgments and civil settlements for abuses that happen under him. >> reporter: burge was convicted, not for the torture, because the statute of limitations ran out, but for lying about it. he spent 4.5 years behind bars. today he is a free man, and receives his police pension. advocates pressure the city for decades. for more accountability. in 2013, introducing the idea of repatriations. this year chicago became the first city in the nation to approve a repparition ordinance for police abuse and torture. ronald kitch ebb en is not eligible for reparations because he received a multi million
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chicago. >> reporter: what do you make of the repatriations deal in chicago right now? >> repatriations. so you took these guy's lives, took them away from their mums, because half their mums are dead. even kids passed away while you're incarcerated. you took everything that was sacred and good to them. you took this away. now you are going to give them a band aid over a big-areas wound. >> reporter: what ronald kitchen is focussed on now is his family and future. while not dwelling in the past, hopes the price he paid was not in vain. >> the thing is let's talk about it. let's expose them for what they are. and make changes.
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this is about making changes. "america tonight" - lisa fletcher is here. ronnie did not get repatriations. others did. will this be enough to close the chapter. >> that's what a lot of victims are asking. they say this is a nice first step. and when you look at the repatriations deal. financially it doesn't offer that much. 5.5 million, divided among ex-amount of victims, i know there's a cap on what each victim can receive. if there's more victims than money, they'll shrink the dollar amount done. here is interesting things that go with the reparations that go in addition to the money. job training, counselling. there'll be a memorial to the victims, and a public school curriculum on the john burge era, in the hope of not
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repeating this thing. >> it's satisfying, for these many that lost so much of their lives, is it satisfying to think there'll be education or whatever money there is. >> someone more excited about the education combonnet. they'll carry on into the future. for most of them they are saying the money is so small and meaningless compared to what we lost in the process. ronald told us there's no amount of money that can bring the mind back. prison. >> no money will ever be enough. >> for decades it's known to have taken place. there have to have been other officers that saw, heard about it. anything. >> thought, heard about it, probably participated. whether they came forward is unclear, what is clear, and was clear to journalist john conroy,
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a lot of people knew about it. he said it's because the torture was directed at what he calls the torturable class. marginalized people that a lot of society doesn't care about. >> lisa fletcher, thanks next, soaked - after its wettest may on record, the new system threatening texas's flash flood alley. later a call on climate change. "america tonight"s sheila warning. >> hot on the "america tonight" website. victim 123, remembering kevin jones, the face behind baltimore's summer crime spike at >> shot dead and the government
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does nothing. >> they teach you how to eliminate people? >> ya. >> we've done it and that is why we are there. >> my life is in danger. >> anyone who talks about the islamic religion is killed. >> don't miss the exclusive al jazeera investigation. >> i can't allow you not to go into that because that is your job. >> only on al jazeera america.
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again. the lone star state in the last few weeks faced record flooding. damages in the tens of millions, the wettest may texas as seen. it is a reminder of the risks alley. >> reporter: at one point the flood alerts stretched 800 miles across the state of texas, into central missouri. thousands of buildings damaged or destroyed and at least 23 killed. >> the sound of houses hitting other houses, hitting trees, people screaming. it was def thing. >> it was the wettest may texas recorded, and the worst floods since gn. the re -- since 2001. the receding waters showed the powers of the rivers and the
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dangers of being too close to their banks. >> it's laid flat. testament to the velocity and force of the water. >> "america tonight" brought one of the leading experts on floodplains to texas. >> where are we now? >> along the blanco river. upstream from san marcos, where it becomes the san marcos receiver. this is where some of the worse flooding occurred. i was blown away by the magnitude of this event. there's debris in the trees. >> all over the place. trees are laid flat. it was a violent place. >> flooding is the costliest and most lethal natural disaster faces. into the trees. and a forecast for more extreme weather. tropical storm bill made land fall, bringing along the rain.
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the worry is existing blood barriers could be stretched too thin. even before the clean-up from last month is complete. many remain under flash flooding until thursday, when the front is expected to weaken next - under water. the threat to coastal communities and an urgent >> hunted to the brink of extinction... >> we need an urgent method that stops the killing. >> now fighting back with a revolutionary new science. >> this radio carbon dating method can tell us if trade of ivory is legal. >> it could save a species... >> i feel like we're making an impact >> techknow's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> i'm standing in a tropcal wind storm...
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>> ...can effect and surprise us... >> wow, these are amazing... >> techknow, where technology meets humanity! only on al jazeera america
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s a crime that's under reported... >> what do you think... >> we're making history right now... >> al jazeera america it's a hot debate that could take divine
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intervention to settle. some skeptics exist that global warming is hot air. the pope is about to say he beliefs in climate change. when he speaks millions issue. he is expected to release a statement on climate change, and how humans caused it. the european union is laying out its view. if the world does reach an agreement, it may come too late for the scenic south pacific, where whole islands in and residents are at rick. "america tonight"s sheila macvicar reported on the ecological trouble brewing, and has a global warming. from the former president of ireland, mary robinson who runs a foundation for justice. >> reporter: when you look at see? >> i see communities faced every day with the illusion of the gardens of their walls, families
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are faced with, you know, a real threat to their existence, and certainly to their food production, to being able to predict when to sow and harvest. when i think about human rights persons, eleanor roosevelt and the commission in 1948, who grew up, and the general assembly adopted, the universal document of human rights never envisaged that human induced climate change would cause devastation to poor communities and put whole countries like republic. kyrie bash out of business. they have bought land in fiji. if we go above 1.5 degrees of finished. >> reporter: the global goal is 2 degrees. >> the global goal is to stay below 2 degrees.
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we need to be below to save kyrie bash. >> reporter: is the international community close? >> not close. we are on course for about a 4 degree or more world. and i know what that looks like, because the world bank did a heat." >> like? >> it's catastrophic. whole cities like miami and others going under water. we are facing that. >> reporter: we are not just talking about the pacific islands. we talk about a lot of people living on the coast in parts of cities that will be ubd water if see levels rise by a moderate amount. the prediction it it will be three times that. when you look forward to paris in december 2015, what do you want to see come out of that. how are you doing? >> the french decided that the agreement will be - will have four pillars, if you like.
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the most important is legal agreement, and i want a legally binding agreement that will keep us on a safe pathway to below 2 degrees. that means we probably need a goal at the end. when we finish with fossil fuels i would like that to be 2050. it startles people when i say i would like zero carbon. >> that's 25 years from now. >> then i know we'll have the safe world, and we may save kiribati. it's doable. the next pillar is all of the commitments that governments are making. when we add them up, it won't be enough. ambition. >> when you spread the message, you are up against powerful, wealthy traditional sources. the oil and gas industry. how do you persuade those people that ultimately this is in their
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best interests. >> i think there are some. a few, beginning to think that some of them already are in renewables. this is where they need to go. there is a growing divestment movement. i wanted to be called di vestment, reinvesting. i thought it should be investing in the energy we need, we need energy. i'm hearing good news about the way in which research on solar batteries is moving, and i think that we will have the capacity to have electric cars when we need them. i think we can have electric trains and other infrastructure, and what we need is to recognise that there's no doubt we have to go that way. we have absolutely no option. the foreign minister of france will be chairing in paris, and
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spoke, in french obviously, that we are the first generation to understand the issue of change, and that we are the last generation to do something about it. i'm a grandmother with five grandchildren, happy irish grandmother. they range from 11 to 1 in aig. the others will be in the 40s. what kind of world will they have. they share with 9 billion other people. how will there be a way to secure food. will there be enough water. these go through my mind, unless we take good decisions this year, to set us on this course for a move much more rapidly than we are doing to a renewable world with jobs, if california and other places approves. the future is good. but we have to change course and head in the right direction. >> what happens if we don't. what is the alternative?
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>> well - we need to avoid this catastrophic 4 degree world, a world where people are displaced by climate, and this is the important year of sustainable development goals for all countries, which will make us think about what it is to live sustainably in our world, to use the resources of the world in a way that we pass them on at least as well as we ground them, to the next generation, and we are hurting the ecosystems that are a part of what we need to live with equilibrium, to live in a socially sustainable world. so the sustainable development is important. i compare 2015 to 1945. >> how so. >> in 1945, the world has been faced with two world wars, the holocaust. and the opening up of the cold war. the leaders came together driven. what did we get.
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we got the charter of the united nations, the breton woods, the world bank. we had a marshall plan for europe, that was incredible, and a few years later the universal declaration of human rights, we are faced with the same kind of order of a framework for do. that is what it is. to me, you know, climate change is a moral issue, a political issue, a political kish u. it's how we -- issue. forward. mary robinson speaking with sheila macvicar. that is "america tonight", tell us what you think at talk to us on twitter and facebook. come back, we'll have more of "america tonight" >> brittany menard's decision to take her own life last year. sparked a national debate.
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>> brittany didn't wan't to die the brain tumor was killing her, she simply took control over how that process would go. >> now see what her husband is doing to keep his promise to change "right to die" laws nationwide. america tonight only on al jazeera america. 27 people are killed after the syrian government uses improvised weapons in a rebel-held city of douma. notes ♪ ♪ you are watching al jazerra live from our headquarters in doha. also coming up, protests in hong kong as politicians debate how the city's next leader should be elected. the only thing that really count is have we stopped the boats? and the answer is a resounding yes. >> australia's prime minister evades questions over a bribery scandal despite growing evidence.